You hear it all the time that no two automobile accident cases are the same. So why is that? Well the reason is there are many factors that go into determining a claim. We will cover some of the variations that can cause claims to be different from one another.
1. Location. Where someone gets involved in a motor vehicle collision is important because that may be where a jury is selected to listen to your claim if you are forced to go to trial. As with most areas some places are more conservative or have a more conservative jury pool and others are more liberal. The jurisdiction has a impact upon any settlement or verdict but is not the only factor considered.
2. Type of accident. There are various types of automobile accidents, for example head on collision, rear end collision, t-bone collision, failure to yield collision and side swipe. There may be some types of collisions not listed but these are the usual suspects when it comes to automobile collisions. Depending upon the nature of the collision will usually depend upon the seriousness of the injuries.
3. Amount of insurance coverage available. Some of the most severe injuries my firm has seen has been related with the most underinsured drivers and subsequently, the odds decrease dramatically at there ever being a recovery. When someone has insurance the insurance company will provide protection up to the amount contracted for. There are various policies but the important ones which are helpful when you are involved in a motor vehicle collision are; liability, uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage.
- Liability insurance is the coverage you need if you are at fault for an automobile accident. The insurance company will cover you up to the policy limit amount you purchase. The minimum policy limit amount in Georgia as of the date of this article is $25,000.00/$50,000.00. These limits translate into no more than $25,000.00 per person and no more than $50,000.00 per accident regardless of how many people are injured.
- Uninsured motorist insurance is insurance that protects you in case the at-fault driver does not have any insurance or if they are underinsured. This is the most effective way to protect yourself against other drivers. You can not control the way other drivers drive. You can not stop a drunk driver from drinking and getting behind the wheel, but you can attempt to reduce the impact it has on you and your family should that drunk driver chose to run into your vehicle. Not much of a consolation but the reality is it is the single best way to proactively protect your family from financial ruin if an unfortunate serious car collision occurs. Most insurance companies will allow you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage in the same amount as your liability coverage. If there is anything to take away from this article it is to go out and purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. This coverage is an optional coverage and you must ask for it if you want it.
- Medical payments insurance coverage is insurance that pays for medical care and prescriptions as well as lost wages and other payments based upon medical coverage you need. The policy amounts usually range from $500 to $50,000.00. This insurance would serve as the primary insurance even before any health insurance you may have. Very affordable and if you have no health insurance it is a good way to protect against the unexpected car collision and subsequent medical care you will be required to pay. This is also important because the number one complaint we here is the doctor wants $200.00 to see me and I can not work due to my injuries “how am I going to pay for this?”. The short answer is medical payments coverage. This is an optional coverage and must be requested if you want it.
4. Injuries caused by the automobile accident. Insurance companies will not pay for what could have happened to you in an automobile accident, in fact unless there is solid proof that you will need surgery then the insurance company may attempt not to pay for surgery. The important thing to remember is to keep your options open when discussing your medical care with your medical providers. If surgery is an option, do not tell the doctor you do not want it. The reason you should not state this is you may want the surgery later. If you tell the doctor under no conditions do I want surgery he/she may write that in the medical records the insurance company will receive. They love to see that they will not have to pay for a surgery and will not if you are adamant that you do not want it. So it is best to keep all of your options open, today you may not feel like you want surgery but the future can change your mind quickly especially if the pain increases to the point where any surgery is better than the existing pain.
5. Punitive circumstances. By punitive circumstances I am referring to drunk driving, reckless driving, soon to be texting and driving and other various behaviors that make the collision especially dangerous and preventable. With a punitive circumstance, there is greater possibility of being successful in your claim so long as your injuries are related and treatment is reasonable. The punitive aspects of a case can be the difference between a settlement and a trial.
6. Insurance company. The fact is there are certain insurance companies that will put up a fight regardless of the circumstances and they do not care about seeming fair and basically force the injured party to file suit if they want to have there medical bills paid for. This is something that we have seen more and more lately, which is unfortunate. A fair settlement benefits both parties involved in a car wreck claim, taking an aggressive stance to prolong a matter knowing that the majority will cave and they will benefit as a company.
In closing, these six reasons are not the only reasons but are the big six when it comes to determining the value of your claim and why you know someone you know had a similar claim but with much different results. Often times it will be one of these six reasons or more will be the reason your claim is valued differently.
Should you ever have specific questions regarding your specific claim, you should contact an automobile accident attorney in your area.